French Sunday Lunch:
Guinea Fowl with Apples, Prunes and Armagnac Mustard Sauce
(Pintade aux Prunes)
Dawn breaks, sending fiery rays of blood-red rays through the old lace curtains……it’s a Sailor’s (or Shepherd’s) warning morning, and then I hear the patter of rain as it hits the window, driven by blustering winds. The duvet clings to me like a protective jacket, the pillows are fluffy, the bed feels “safe” and I really do not want to get up. It’s the first Sunday in March and Spring is officially here, it’s a shame that SW France seems to have forgotten this fact. I curse quietly under my breath as my husband slumbers on – it’s obviously “my turn” to let the chickens out again. Warm feet slip into cold slippers and I grope around for my fleece – a dressing gown won’t be “man” enough for the weather that I can hear outside; padding silently down the stairs, a cat winds around my legs, purring in anticipation of food and strokes………the other cat is hiding under the table with evil intent, and jumps out to attack my sheepskin slippers as I pass her lair…….
….clicking the kettle on, I then make my way through the stable door and flap my way over the grass, nightie flying and flaying, to the hen hut at the bottom of the garden. The blood-red sky is now a gentle pink and the rain has stopped, thankfully. The warm glow of the kitchen beckons me as I make my way back up the garden, and all I can think of is a cup of tea and preferably taken in bed.
Back in the kitchen I make a pot of tea and prepare a “Sunday morning” tray – that’s milk, tea and mugs to take upstairs for another snooze in bed! But before I make my way back up the old oak staircase, I assemble a few ingredients, ready for Sunday lunch – bringing apples, potatoes and a jar of mustard in from the pantry, ready to prepare after my Sunday morning indulgence of tea in bed. I have a recipe in mind, a comforting dish of rustic elegance that will be perfect for a lazy lunch………a lunch that is made in one roasting tray for ease, Guinea Fowl with Apples, Prunes and Armagnac Mustard Sauce (Pintade aux Prunes) and a recipe that will allow me to indulge in opening a new jar from my recently arrived Maille Mustard Gift Box.
I have already decided on which jar of mustard I will use – the selection was amazing with mustards of every hue and flavour and I was tempted to use the Mustard with White Wine and Dijon Blackcurrant Liqueur, as well as the Mustard with White Wine, Shallots, Chervil and Chanterelle Mushrooms, but it was the Mustard with White Wine, Dried Prunes and Armagnac Brandy that I decided to use in the end. I have cooked the recipe (I am sharing today) before, but with a few different variations – we both love “pintade” and there is no need to buy a whole bird, as you can buy pieces of “quarters” of Guinea fowl in France, which is handy for two people.
I LOVE this recipe as it is easy to prepare and cook, as it all roasts in one tray; the sauce is easily made in a saucepan and that means less washing up with only two dishes used. I served this with some of my Spiced Red Cabbage with Apples, which was in the freezer, and that and a glass (or two) of Cremant de Limoux completed our Sunday lunch. As well as the beautiful Guinea fowl and English Russet apples, the Maille mustard was the star of the show and complimented the dish perfectly; this mustard has a heat rating of 3 out of 5, so it’s quite mellow, but with a pronounced fruity taste and the Armagnac brandy coming in later, along with the wine……it’s a very sophisticated mustard with a complex taste, and it was also perfect as an accompaniment on the side of the plate, with our roast potatoes being dipped and dabbed in it.
DO try this recipe, maybe for a lazy Sunday lunch one day, or for a dinner party – if you are not keen on Guinea fowl, which I always describe as tasting “like chicken with attitude”, then use chicken pieces instead. Rabbit can also be used in place of Guinea fowl and mustard sauce is a classic French way of cooking and serving rabbit, and is truly delicious. Not long to the weekend now, have a wonderful day and I’ll be back soon with some more new recipes and “kitchen chat”, Karen.
Disclaimer: I received a box of Maille Mustards as well as a financial fee for creating and developing this original recipe using Maille Mustards. All opinions and views are my own.